KEIGHLEY Cougars Chief Executive and co-owner Ryan O’Neill has issued the following statement in regard to yesterday’s Reimagining Rugby League announcement.
The following statement was first issued this morning in The Independent newspaper with Ryan now issuing in full to you, the supporters of Keighley Cougars.
I value the contribution IMG can bring to sport, they bring weight, talent, and value.
However, on what I’ve seen, I have reservations they fully understand Rugby League.
This sport is rooted in the north and in the communities, this is the Rugby League USP. These are the foundations to build on, be proud of, and embraced to organically expand.
Expand yes but expand with demand.
There is a huge opportunity to engage with people, to entertain people, to create a sport that is dynamic.
This doesn’t mean clubs that are exempt to the jeopardy of relegation, it means offering a competitive sport where losers can become winners, and winners can become losers.
Rugby League has failed over the last two decades because it has tried to manufacture a celebrity and glamour that is not authentic.
Expansion, favouritism, flexible rules for one, but not the other. This has to stop.
The IMG initial proposals to me seem to just be a continuance of the same mistakes. Preserving the clubs with the bigger names for vanity is not the answer.
Rugby League, and sport in general, should have a simple premise. You lose, you drop. You win, you rise.
Two up and two down in every league in every season.
No ifs and no buts. That’s sport.
By Joshua Chapman
Totally agree with this. Keighley got sold down the river many years ago with the invention of Super League. No club should be stopped from the progress they have earned
If the so called “Beautiful Game” can have promotion and relegation why not the best game in the world. All that then needs sorting is “How many Divisions and how many in each Division” and “No Loop fixtures” each team playing home and away once against the rest of the teams in that Division.
Absolutely spot on, I couldn’t agree more, it seems to me that the objective is to maintain the status quo and is nothing short of protectionism. When Super League was formed and Keighley was sold down the river I believe all the clubs excluded should have broken free and formed their own leagues and gone with terrestrial television. Super League would have become an irreverence, I’ll never forgive the statement from Bradford’s chairman ‘It’s Super League not sympathy league when referring to the Cougars.
Spot on, as a Fan of Hull KR for 40 plus years I have experienced both sides of the winning and loosing spectrum with relegation and promotion in this time more than once. We can expand, make the game better without abandoning clubs who have been the lifeblood of RL for over a century.
Perfectly true. IMG have been influenced by the so called big clubs. The new proposals are self preservation connected with greed.
Well said Ryan. Spot on as always.
Congratulations on your book. Brilliantly researched. A treasure to hold on to . Now for Cougarmania round 2, hopefully with a better result.
I despise the principle of protectionism for the top tier (Super League) division; promotion and relegation based purely on results is essential if integrity is to be maintained. In general I am not impressed with the principle
of classification of A and B clubs, considering it divisive and unnecessary. I confess to being one of the 20,000 fans who contributed to the so-called consultation but unfortunately not one of the suggestions I put forward has been taken up or reflected upon in any shape or form; I suspect that the same applies to the other 19,999 contributors – our involvement was just a farce.
Yes, fairness not franchises is the way forward
It seems the IMG proposals are just a glorified rehash of Nigel Woods RFL Licensing… its been tried. It failed. Reinventing a square wheel takes you nowhere. Need rugby league like Ryan to speak out or many clubs face isolation or worse.
Excellent summary of common sense ideas, well done.
I couldn’t agree more, it’s absolutely rediculous what they’ve said. If it goes ahead then it will kill the game because there’s nothing to play for. Why go watch a game with no purpose other than pride.
Here here, rugby league is in its arse. If it carries on they won’t be a game In 10 years time. The world Cup is an opportunity to bring fans in but they are charging ridiculous amounts to watch a game. Forcing people ti watch on tv .
Totally agree any club that builds itself around its community and expands with success on the field and appropriate financial structure deserves the reward of promotion not your names not on the list so your not coming in
Totally agree, we need promotion and relegation otherwise what’s the point ? We also don’t need ten teams in each division, it should be twelve at least.
Fully agree, 10 teams per division would just result in a League 2 being created which would have less love than League 1. We should be looking to move gradually to a 14, 16, or 18 team division.
Excellent totally agree you earn the right to be promoted and if you are not good enough you get relegated who ever you are
Spot on with the comments about Keighley. I am a Widnes fan remember when Super league started we were in then we were out. Each league should be 14 teams and 2 up 2 down.
TBH, I’d scrap League 1 and make a two tired 18+19 club league and look for two or three up and down per season.
I have not been party to the negotiations, but as a lover of Rugby League I fail to see how a fossilization of the Super League is progress.
In the few snippets I have read it appears that League 1 is merely an embarrassment.
Cougars, all but for the new management and coaching staff, could have been left in the wilderness.
Why are we so afraid of being a game played along the M62 corridor?
Kent Invicta, Fulham, Carlisle, Mansfield, Nottingham, Cardiff City, Celtic Crusader, I think that these make my case.
Lions lead by donkeys flatters the Rugby Football League as an organisation.
it seem to me every time cougars make progressthey start changing the goal posts it appears everything is based on super leauge yet again
If you want to give teams an element of security make two leagues of 14.
Bottom of SL = automatic relegation
Top of Championship = automatic promotion.
SL #13 and C #2 play in a £1M game for SL survival or promotion.
From a Giants fan who thinks Keighley have been very badly treated by the RL over the years.
Rugby league is what you have on the pitch not off
Should be a featherstone fan its been happening to featherstone for last 10 years they just keep changing the Goal posts, hope Batley win on Sunday just to upset the RLandSL big time lol
IMG are based in New York.
They are looking for commercial development at Super League levels – NOT the growth of RL at all levels.
IMG = Insidious Money Grabbing.
Maurice Lindsay started this – changed it when it suited the top clubs.
QUESTION for the RFL – Have you consulted fans in any way shape or form, at any level – publish your full consultation from questions to answers……and the list of those consulted and who authored the consultation document.
I always thought sport was the ultimate “meritocracy “. It only mattered only if you were good enough, not how rich you were or where you came from… these proposals go against the whole idea of fairness to me. The reasoning of being unable to plan for success trumpeted out by chairmen for the last 20 years is a nonsense – what they actually mean is they aren’t prepared to grow the clubs organically over time and within their means. The sport needs to understand they aren’t here to compete with football and rugby union in the short term, it should be about making the clubs self sustaining by drawing in regular crowds who will return for most home games in a season and partnering with dependable sponsors.
Pretty much the only thing I can say the RFL have done well in the last 25 year is the decision to get some games shown on channel 4 which is at least showing the sport to a new audience.
Well said you clearly explain what is needed I hope other clubs listen to him
The best game in the world has never known how to promote itself
Super league is rugby league not some thing different
The aim of the game is to win
If you win your up you loose your down
Can only echo much of what has been written above re the RFĹ and their apparent out of touch views towards the sport in general.
As a leigh fan we know all about relagation etc and more people watch rl then than they do now advertise rl as rl not sl all the time
Bring back 2 up 2 down
The bigger clubs won’t like but bugger them
Totaly agree get back basics and look after every one not just the favoured few
Absolutely spot on. The founders of Rugby League, who formed RL for specifically the reason of breaking away from elitism in Rugby, will surely have been spinning in their graves for the past few decades. George Orwell’s Animal Farm could well have been written to illustrate the journey of RL.
We need more clubs to out with these sorts of statmemnts.
This whole thing is just rugby league’s version of the European Super League scandal that hit football last year – helping the top clubs and taking more money away from the bottom.
Every club should have a chance to play at the top, it is one of the fundamentals of sport, which is why promotion and relegation must stay in the game!
A 14 team SL GIVES 26 matches, add on the magic weekend and enter all SL clubs in the cup at the last 32 stage making it a Challenge Cup for all.
10in the 2 lower divisions as well with one up and one down plus a play off for the second bottom against the runner up in the lower division. Add in a league ( 4 x 5 teams) then knockout for the top of each group in the AB Sundecks cup and all will
Elitism and protecting a select few
You are either good enough or you are relegated and you go again